Men's and women's club soccer teams capture national titles

It certainly was a triumphant weekend for the MSU men’s and women’s club soccer teams.

After strong seasons for both squads, the work of a season proved successful at the 2012 NIRSA NCCS National Soccer Championship in Memphis, Tenn., as both the men’s and women’s club soccer teams won a title in the national tournament.

The women’s team won the championship game in overtime with a final score of 2-1, upsetting California Santa Barbara, who previously had won multiple national titles throughout the past decade. The victory seals the first championship in the program’s 15-year history and gives warm feelings for many of the team’s seniors.

“Winning was an amazing feeling after a long season and we worked really hard for it,” senior forward and team captain Tracy Rymph said. “As a senior, this is my last year on the team so winning the national title for me was just the result of four years of hard work.”

The men’s team also won a national championship by defeating Weber State in a shootout Saturday night. The title also is a first for the men’s team, who made it to the national tournament in 2008 and 2009 but were unable to capitalize.

Both teams conclude their 2012 season with historic wins at the national level.

“It’s hard for me to describe how it felt when my teammate, Maddie Lucci, scored the winning goal in overtime,” senior defender Katie Clarkin said. “It was just the perfect way to cap off a great season with a great group of girls.”

On top of the win, four senior players were named to the All Tournament Team, including Rymph, defender Meghan Gorsuch, Clarkin and forward Samantha Pace.

With it being the last year on the team, Clarkin said this win has been a huge accomplishment for the program.

“We’ve been pretty consistent in making it to the national tournament,” she said. “This is the first year in club soccer history that we’ve moved past the quarterfinals. I’ve never been so proud of my team.”

Senior goalkeeper Courtney Levy also was named the tournament’s most outstanding goalkeeper, while freshman midfielder/forward Maddie Lucci was named tournament MVP for her game-winning goal.

Championship in hand, Rymph said she hopes this title will have a positive impact on the club in the future.

“As a club sport, we don’t get a lot of recognition from the university and I think this will draw some attention to us and make people want to learn more about the program,” she said. “It should definitely help create interest for future years.”

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